Health Disparities Project

Health Disparities Project

A growing body of research has documented that persons with disabilities are more likely to experience health disparities compared to the general population. The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project: Health and Health Care Disparities Among Individuals with Disabilities project will extend this research by determining what factors relate to or explain health outcomes and health care access among the diverse populations of individuals with disabilities.

The goal of the Health Disparities Project is to generate new knowledge about health access and health outcomes among sub-groups of people with disabilities and translate and disseminate the findings for researchers, policy makers, and others.

The project will have four major components:

  • A review and synthesis of existing research on health and health care access among individuals with disabilities and subgroups of individuals with disabilities. The project will use this review to inform the subsequent research activities of the project. 
  • Two series of structural equation modeling studies using the National Health Interview Survey dataset linked to Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data. The first series of studies will determine models of systems level, environmental level, and individual level factors that relate to health care access among persons with a range of disabilities. The second series of studies will extend these analyses to determine models of health outcomes for persons with a range of disabilities. Formulation of the studies and subsequent interpretation of their findings will be informed by member-check validation studies at the initiation of the project, mid-point and in final interpretation. 
  • Translation of research findings to impact future research, and programs and policy development. In addition to other dissemination activities, a Policy Forum will be conducted in Washington, DC, to facilitate discussion regarding research, program, and policy implications.

Completion of this integrated set of project activities will ensure that the field of health disparities research advances beyond documentation to explanation and opportunity for resolution.


The Health and Health Care Disparities Among Individuals with Disabilities Project (Health Disparities Project) is funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), grant H133A100031. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.